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Newly hired lighting technician electrocuted while working night shift—Oregon

Oregon Case Report:18OR040
Release Date: October 30, 2020

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


On September 26, 2018, a male contract worker, employed 3 weeks with a staffing agency, was electrocuted while working on an energized lighting fixture during a night shift (7pm to 7am). A crew of subcontracted lighting technicians were replacing lights at a large retail store chain while the lighting circuits were energized. Workplace hazards at the stores were not identified. It was assumed that all stores were on the 120V single-phase circuits and previously retrofitted with luminaire (i.e., “quick”) disconnects. Before work began in the store where the incident occurred, the foreman located what he thought was the lighting electrical panel, which was a 208/120V single-phase panel, but this panel was for accent lighting only. The main store lighting was in an uninspected panel and was a 480/277V 3-phase panel. At the time of the incident, the decedent was working on a fixture without a quick disconnect. About 3:30am, co-workers noticed the decedent was slumped over the scaffold and not moving. CPR was initiated and co-workers called 911. The decedent was declared dead at the scene by EMS. A Police Officer on scene notified Oregon OSHA (OR-OSHA) and instructed the crew not to disturb the incident scene prior to OR-OSHA investigation. After the decedent was removed and law enforcement left, the foreman and remaining crew continued to work, completing the disconnect installation the decedent was working on, exposing themselves to similar, and potentially fatal, hazards. Photographs and witness statements were taken by the OR-OSHA Safety Compliance Officer (SCO). The Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) investigated this workplace fatality by reviewing the OR-OSHA investigation files, and corresponding with the OR-OSHA SCO.

Newly hired lighting technician electrocuted while working night shift—Oregon [PDF 912 KB]